It's natural to have many questions about cosmetic surgery. Doctors and support staff at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center are here to answer your questions and review specific cosmetic surgery procedures.
Below, find answers to some of your most frequently asked questions about cosmetic surgery and aesthetic procedures. Remember that your surgeon is best able to answer questions and elaborate based on his or her evaluation of your needs.
- »What is the difference between cosmetic and reconstructive surgery?
Cosmetic surgery is performed to reshape normal structures of the body in order to improve appearance and self-esteem. Cosmetic surgery is usually not covered by health insurance because it is elective.
Reconstructive surgery is performed on abnormal structures of the body caused by congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, trauma, infection, tumors or disease. In general, reconstructive surgery is performed to improve function, but may also be completed to approximate a normal appearance.
Reconstructive surgery is typically covered by most health insurance policies, although coverage for specific procedures and levels of coverage may vary greatly.
- »What is the recovery from cosmetic surgery like?
Each patient tolerates pain after surgery in different ways. Your surgeon will prescribe the appropriate pain medications to help minimize any discomfort. In general, most facial cosmetic operations have minimal discomfort post-operatively. Liposuction is slightly more uncomfortable, and operations that require elevation or tightening of the muscles-such as an abdominoplasty or breast augmentation can cause discomfort equal to a C-section.
- »Where will my procedure be performed?
Most elective surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis, but if emergency hospitalization becomes necessary, you want to be sure that you can be admitted quickly for appropriate care.
One way to gauge the overall quality of the center is to determine whether it is certified by the Joint Commission on Accreditation in Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), which accredits nearly 16,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States – everything from hospitals to outpatient surgery facilities. Other accrediting organizations include the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities and the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care.
- »What should you know about the safety of outpatient surgery?
It's important to learn about the safety of a plastic surgery procedure, as well as the expected outcome. Although thousands of people have plastic surgery every year without complications, no surgical procedure is risk-free.
To maximize your safety, ensure the following:
- »How long will the benefits last?
The results of your plastic surgery depend on the procedure you have. In general, results from most plastic surgery procedures are long lasting if a healthy weight and overall healthy lifestyle is maintained.
- »How soon can I return to work?
The length of time it takes to recover after plastic surgery varies depending on the procedure performed and the person operated on. Most patients will require assistance for the first two days following surgery.
- »How many people undergo cosmetic surgery each year?
Over 13.1 million cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures were performed in the United States in 2010, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This is a 5% increase from 2009.
- »How many men have cosmetic surgery?
Men had over 9 percent of cosmetic procedures in 2010. The number of procedures (surgical and nonsurgical) performed on men was more than 1.1 million during the same year.
- »What are the most popular procedures for men?
The top non-surgical cosmetic procedure for men in 2009 was Botox®. Liposuction was the top surgical cosmetic procedure.
- »What does Restylane® do? How is it different from Botox®?
Restylane® is very effective in smoothing out and filling in bothersome wrinkles and lines, particularly in the lower part of the face. It has several advantages over other filler-type materials such as collagen; it lasts longer and causes very little adverse reaction. It is easy to administer (injected through a small needle), and once its effectiveness has diminished six months to a year later, the body safely absorbs it.
Restylane® and Botox® (botulinum toxin) often are used in a complementary fashion. While Restylane® is best for the lower face, Botox® is great for wrinkles that occur in the upper face – crow's feet or the vertical frown lines between the eyebrows – because it paralyzes muscle and nerve endings, stopping the skin from wrinkling.
- »If I have Botox® or Restylane®, how often would I need to repeat the injections?
Botox® lasts about three to four months, and the treatment can be repeated as needed. When it wears off, you will begin to notice increased muscle action and some reformation of the wrinkles. It appears that with repeated use, the effect of Botox® becomes longer lasting.
Restylane® injections last for about six months, and can also be repeated as needed.
- »How do I know what size breast implant is right for me?
The decision is based on a number of factors, including the patient's desires, reasons for the surgery and overall health.
For example, are you doing it because you feel your breasts are too small relative to your body contour or are you unhappy with the size and firmness of your breasts following pregnancy, breastfeeding or major weight loss? Unevenness between the breasts can also be a motivating factor. Your surgeon can help you make the right decision during your pre-surgical appointment(s).
- »Will a partial face-lift take away wrinkles from lower face and neck?
This can only be determined after you are evaluated by a plastic surgeon, but any kind of plastic surgery in this area should improve your appearance.
- »Do face and neck exercises work to reduce sag?
No, they do not.
- »Does a person's voice change after rhinoplasty (nose surgery)?
A few patients notice small change in their voice after rhinoplasty but this is uncommon. Professionals who rely on their voice, such as singers, should share any concerns with their surgeon, however, because the nose does play a role in how we sound.
- »What type of mini face lift can be done to raise cheekbones? What is the recovery time?
The available options can only be discussed after having an evaluation with a plastic surgeon. In general, recovery time from a mini face lift is approximately two weeks.
- »If a patient has a heart condition, is plastic surgery with general anesthesia safe?
It depends upon the patient's disease and current medications. Talk to your plastic surgeon about your specific situation.
- »How is a patient's physical condition evaluated prior to plastic surgery?
A complete pretesting series of appointments is done prior to any surgery.
- »Do you perform tumescent liposuction?
Yes, tumescent liposuction, a new technique that results in less bruising, less swelling and a quicker recovery than older traditional methods of liposuction, is routinely performed at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center.
Tumescent liposuction uses a large volume of dilute epinephrine to cause intense constriction of the small blood vessels, which leads to less bleeding, less bruising and less swelling.
- »How does the cost of the neck lift compare to the cost of a facelift?
The facelift is somewhat more expensive because more surgery is performed. A neck lift is a more limited procedure.
- »What are the possible risks?
There are risks associated with any surgical procedures. Find out what they are, how often they occur and how they will be handled if they do occur. If the doctor does not openly discuss the risks or admit that there are always risks, seek another opinion.
- »Are financing options available?
As a rule, cosmetic plastic surgery is considered “elective surgery” and is not covered by most insurance plans. If the service is not covered by insurance, Cleveland Clinic may provide some financing options. We encourage you to ask early in the conversation if financing is needed.
- »Is surgery performed under general or local anesthesia?
Depending upon what is most appropriate for your particular situation, the surgeon will decide what type of anesthesia to use. He or she will answer any questions you have.
- »Is there anything to do to minimize swelling or bruising?
Yes. Depending upon what the procedure, it might make sense to sleep in a reclining (not horizontal) position for one week following surgery to minimize the collection of fluids in the face and eyelids.
Follow the instructions you will be given about making and administering your cold and warm compresses. These will not only reduce bruising and swelling, but they will also maximize and promote healing.
- »There are a lot of claims that copper is a good anti-aging treatment for the skin. What does copper do to the skin? Is there any concern about toxicity?
Copper restores the skin's ability to repair itself. It promotes collagen and elastin by minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. It may also improve blotchiness. Copper is important in the production of glycosaminoglycans (moisture) and works as an antioxidant to defend the skin against free radicals. There have not been any documented cases of toxicity. Copper is the third most abundant mineral in the human body, followed by zinc and iron, and is utilized by essentially every cell and organ.
- »Do you have questions that are more specific to particular procedures or services?
Each cosmetic procedure page offers more specific frequently asked questions. Access a full list of cosmetic procedures.